Written by Zack Wilson
Photo by Jonathan Davies playing for Great Britain
The 30th anniversary of Jonathan Davies moving to rugby league and signing for Widnes from rugby union outfit Llanelli was marked in the British sports media this week.
There was a real sense of nostalgia as the videos of him telling the press that he was going away to with the rule book to watch some videos of rugby league were posted online.
There were also plenty of highlights of Davies in action, and it was wonderful to see the Welsh wizard at his peak.
He had a real eye for a gap, speed, an ability to change gear quickly and a great kicking boot.
A genuine superstar in Wales and amongst rugby union fans at the time, Davies opened up the eyes of thousands of people to just how good our game was.
I have been fortunate to interview Davies in the past, and he is a very likeable man.
Enthusiastic about both codes of rugby, he is a lot tougher and hard-edged than many might suspect, who have only heard him on the BBC.
Figures like Davies are crucial for rugby league at the moment. Our sport is in a very dangerous moment, and could be facing terminal decline over the next five or 10 years if something isn’t done.
Davies offers a bridge to other communities outside of our heartlands to our game. Just as he did when jumped codes 30 years ago, he still offers a way in for people from rugby union communities.
When Davies and the other Welsh converts jumped codes in the 1980s they brought plenty of Welsh fans into rugby league with them.
The sport could really use another influx of interest and people like that. If only we could sign someone like Jonathan Davies, we might just get the boost we need.
Rugby league has retreated into itself in recent years, and become excessively tribal. There is a fragility to league’s collective ego at the moment, that originates from its extreme vulnerability.
We could really do with something happening that both widened our perspectives and made us more appealing to the wider world.
Maybe Shaun Edwards has someone in mind?
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